Tomorrow marks the release of the only basketball sim game coming out in 2011. I know that sounds preposterous, but it's true. The 2K College Hoops series ended with the '08 release because of licensing disagreements (truly a shame, I still play College Hoops 2K7 on my 360 regularly, one of the best sports games ever made in my opinion). EA discontinued their college game after 2010 even though they currently hold exclusive rights with the NCAA, and in a pretty stunning development, recently delayed/may end up canceling their 2011 NBA game that was supposed to be released in mere weeks. More after the jump about two of my favorite things, hoops and video games.
That intro makes the basketball game options look pretty bleak right now. But it's not all doom and gloom. Let's start with the game coming out tomorrow. While I personally preferred their college game, it is generally recognized that 2K has the better track record with basketball games than EA, so at least the last game left standing is a solid one. More importantly, this particular year's release is getting RAVE reviews. IGN gave it a 9.5 out 10. That's unheard of for a sports game, most of which are glorified roster updates. Having the market to themselves, this definitely would have been a year 2K could have gotten away with mailing it in, but apparently they went all out, and the controls, gameplay, opposing GM AI in franchise mode, everything has been nailed perfectly. Then there is the cherry on top, that man on the cover this year is none other Michael Jordan, and the game is jam packed with features that allow you to recreate the greatest moments of MJ's career, or even play out Michael's career with your favorite team. That's right, we get the chance to find out what would be like to just slide Jordan into the lineup next to Parker, Ginobili, and Duncan. Ridiculous, but also something that I can't resist. Love my Spurs, but as a guy who grew up watching Michael in the 90's (in MJ's hometown no less) I'll always have a soft spot for His Airness. I'll definitely be picking this game up at some time in the near future, although probably won't get around to it right away.
Of course while 2K11 may be the only sim basketball game coming out this year, it is certainly not the only hoops option. If you're partial to something a little more light and fast paced, NBA Jam is making it's return this year, complete with basketballs that burst into flames when a shooter is "on fire." I loved this game as a kid (it helped that Duncan and Robinson were an unstoppable combo in the game) and am really excited that it's being remade, but unfortunately, it's only coming out for the Wii, at least initially. It makes me consider actually getting a Wii, but for now, I'll just hang on and hope they later release it for 360.
Share your thoughts, anyone else here a big fan of hoops games? Are you planning on buying 2K11, NBA Jam, or maybe some other title that I missed, or did your favorite series get axed? Also, if anyone here does get 2K11, could you please post the ratings for the Spurs, and how they stack up to the Heat and the Lakers? I'm sure even the PtRers who don't play video games would be interested to see how we stack up in the game.
UPDATE: Some of the ratings of note that I gleaned from the video and screen shots that bj1der linked to. Thanks for the heads up bj1der. The Spurs were ranked 9th overall as a team, so I listed them and the teams ranked above them. I listed players who had ratings over 70, or just the top 6 if they had more than that rated over 70. Spurs of course I listed out the whole roster.
Chicago Bulls- 3rd Defense, 22nd Offense, 4th Overall
Boston Celtics- 5th Defense, 7th Offense, 6th Overall
R. Allen- 79
N. Robinson- 76
Miami Heat- 4th Defense, 2nd Offense, 2nd Overall
LA Lakers- 1st Defense, 3rd Offense, 1st Overall
S. Brown- 73
Orlando Magic- 2nd Defense, 4th Offense, 3rd Overall
Dallas Mavericks- 8th Defense, 14th Offense, 8th Overall
Denver Nuggets- 11th Defense, 1st Offense, 7th Overall
San Antonio Spurs- 7th Defense, 16th Offense, 9th Overall
J. Anderson- 66
OKC Thunder- 6th Defense, 17th Offense, 5th Overall
J. Green- 77
J. Harden- 74
Rankings reflect a typical tendency to over rate perimeter players compared to big men (look how much higher rated Kobe is than Gasol). Some of these ratings are definitely based on prior reputation than last year's performance. I mean, Vince Carter rated better than Jameer Nelson, really? Or on the team ratings, I was surprised that the Spurs' defense was ranked so high and our offense so low, because that was the opposite of how I felt about our team last year. Parker is definitely underrated, and I hate to say it, but Timmy is probably overrated given that he has a higher rating than Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard. A couple years ago, sure, but now, I'm not so sure. For what it's worth, Bonner is the lowest rated player on the Spurs.